Preparing for a Track Day
Has the latest action from this year’s Formula One season given you thrills to get behind the wheel yourself? If the answer is yes, then we have great news for you because the UK is a haven for track day experiences — just take a look at this handy calendar from TrackDays for events taking place on renowned circuits such as Silverstone, Donington Park and Brands Hatch.
Finding the right experience is the easy part – it’s the preparation that takes some thought and consideration. It’s important to make sure your car is ready to hit the track and that you are prepared to put pedal to the metal. Luckily for you, car radiator supplier Advanced Radiators has created this checklist so that you can make sure you are fully prepared to release your inner Lewis Hamilton.
Ahead of your track day, you should carry out your own little service on your car, starting with your tyres. You’ll have a look at your tyres and ensure the pressure matches the manufacturer’s recommended levels. Tyre pressures can be a cause for debate when it comes to track days — run them too low and damage can be caused to the sidewalls (due to them flexing when putting them through sustained cornering), while too high a pressure runs the risk of increased wear. Bear these points in mind when deviating away from the manufacturer’s recommended levels.
You’ll also need to ensure there is no general damage to your tyres – they need to be in the best recommended condition, meaning the tread depth should be considerably above the legal limit of 1.6mm across 75 per cent of the tyre to enhance grip.
Next on the list is looking under the bonnet to check that all fluids are topped-up to their maximum marks. Cornering force on a track can result in fluids building up on one side of the vehicle’s reservoir, causing the potential of fluid starvation.
Internally, you’ll carry out a few checks of the safety equipment in the cabin. Seatbelts must be in good condition with no tears or issues with them clipping into their holds, while you need to ensure there are no loose objects that could fly around and cause damage or injury once you’re at high speed. Taking out unnecessary items will also dramatically reduce the weight in the car.
To help keep the weight right down, ensure your car has just enough fuel to get through the day instead of filling the tank all the way to the top – and causing the vehicle to be unnecessarily heavy. Higher octane fuel is advised, as it tends to aid performance significantly more than the standard alternatives.
Now, whilst the preparation of your car is vitally important, you also need to spend some time preparing yourself.
It might not be a fashion but what you wear is also important. Fire-retardant clothing made using natural fibres are recommended to ensure the highest level of protection. In fact, many circuits have policies in place which state that arms and legs must be covered while you’re on track.
Shoes are no exception either. Closed toe footwear is the minimum requirement at most tracks, though you should also be sure to opt for a shoe, boot or trainer with thin soles and no overhang so that they achieve good pedal feel lap after lap.
Most insurance policies don’t cover this nature of driving as standard but usually you can just add this on the day of the event for a small premium by contacting your provider. If this isn’t an option for you, seek out specific trackday cover so that your no claims discount isn’t affected in the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim from your day out.